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Friday, August 13, 2010

Mental Maps

So I was on my way to Erie, Pa. with my wife some time ago and we did not worry about directions because we have one of those "navigators." I am just going to summarize the path we took by saying we took a shortcut through Pittsburgh to get to Erie.*
After taking almost three hours to go 1 1/2 hours our frustration was through the roof. One of the problems that day was the fact that our navigator did not have the ability to predict detours and road construction. So it led us down some unnecessary paths. This is what happens in life when we are not open minded with other people. Everyone has a "mental map" that they live by. This map gives predictable answers to: What is right and wrong, how should people generally act, and so on. The problem is that every person has a mental map and in between generations, mental maps shift radically. So now you have people walking around separated by 25 years of age that are looking at the same thing externally through different internal maps.
Stephen Covey touches on this point in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. "Each of us has many, many maps in our head, which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the ways things should be, or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we're usually even unaware that we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be."
To illustrate this point, just look at the picture again. The women is young and beautiful right? Look again, do you see the wrinkles and the age on her face? At first, you are certain of your perception but a harder look gives you another perspective.
Humility goes a long way in life, that is why James says, "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Maybe you should take some time and think about the things in life you are judging too quickly. What seems normal to you may be an anomaly to others and vice versa.
*If this statement made you scratch your head, then that is because you realized that Pittsburgh is the polar opposite of Erie.

1 comment:

Christen said...

Haha, I am scratching my head...the detours were only the end of our problems!! haha Atleast we can laugh about it!